If you retire from Major League Baseball while still under contract, you don't get any money. But if you are forced to retire due to a medical issue, then you still get everything owed to you. Thus, Texas Rangers first baseman/DH Prince Fielder, who was to announce his retirement Wednesday after a second major neck surgery in three years, will get $24 million a year through 2020. But the Rangers were able to get insurance on that contract, and they are still owed $6 million a year from Detroit as part of that trade of Fielder from the Tigers for second baseman Ian Kinsler a couple of years ago (a heist for Detroit). So Texas will "only" have to pay $9 million a season. By the way, Fielder's career earnings of $252 million through 2020 will be more than any player in NFL history. Fielder was a very good player from 2006-2013 -- and very durable -- as he hit at least 30 homers each of those seasons but one (25 in 2010 with the Brewers) and knocked in 100 in all but two. Fielder didn't play much in 2014 because of his first neck surgery, had a great bounce-back season in 2015 when he was named AL Comeback Player of the Year, and then struggled big-time this season before landing on the DL and going under the knife. Fielder will retire with 319 homers, the exact same amount his pops Cecil had in his career.
Diamondbacks at Mets (-218, 7.5)
First game of the day with a 12:10 p.m. ET start. So I'd imagine a regular or two on each side doesn't start in the getaway game. Arizona goes with its top pitching prospect in Braden Shipley, a 2013 first-round pick. Shipley (1-1, 4.15) was roughed up in his first big-league start last month but has put together back-to-back quality starts since. He went six innings and allowed two runs and four hits vs. the Brewers in a no-decision on Friday. He was pulled after allowing a homer to his first batter of the seventh. Shipley hasn't faced the Mets. New York goes with ace Noah Syndergaard (9-6, 2.64). He has been stuck on nine wins since July 3. Perhaps he's getting tired in approaching his career-high innings total. Syndergaard lost in Detroit last time out, allowing four runs in six innings. He hasn't faced Arizona in 2016. Paul Goldschmidt is 0-for-3 against him with two strikeouts.
Key trends: The Mets are 8-3 in Syndergaard's past 11 vs. teams with a losing record. The "over/under" has gone under in four of his past five overall.
Early lean: Mets and under.
Padres at Pirates (-174, 8.5)
A 12:35 p.m. ET first pitch and should have live betting with it televised by the MLB Network. The Friars go with lefty Christian Friedrich in the series finale. Friedrich (4-7, 4.76) hasn't won since June 23. He allowed four runs and five hits over seven innings last time out vs. the Phillies. That tied his longest outing of the year. He hasn't faced the Bucs in 2016. Andrew McCutchen is 2-for-3 career off him with a homer. Jordy Mercer is 1-for-1 with a double. Pittsburgh rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon (2-2, 3.29) is working on a string of five straight quality starts, going six innings in each. The Bucs may not let him go longer than that to save innings on his arm. Taillon has 28 Ks and one walk over his past five starts. He hasn't faced San Diego.
Key trends: The Padres are 1-4 in Friedrich's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The Bucs are 4-0 in Taillon's past four at home. The over is 4-1 in Friedrich's past five on the road.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
Yankees at Red Sox (-166, 9)
This will be the final road game of Alex Rodriguez's career, if Joe Girardi plays him. But the Red Sox aren't planning a farewell ceremony along the lines of those received by Yankees greats Mariano Rivera in 2013 and Derek Jeter in 2014. While Red Sox fans respected those guys and cheered them, I don't think A-Rod would get such a reception. The Yankees go with Michael Pineda (6-10, 5.17). He allowed four runs over six innings Friday vs. Cleveland in a win. Pineda is 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in three starts this year vs. Boston. Mookie Betts is 6-for-20 with two homers off him. David Ortiz is 5-for-22 with a homer and six strikeouts. The Red Sox go with All-Star knuckleballer Steven Wright (13-5), who is a Cy Young candidate and comes off a complete-game three-hit shutout against the Dodgers in his hometown of L.A. Wright is tied for the big-league lead with four complete games. He's 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in two starts this year vs. the Bombers. Mark Teixiera and Brett Gardner are each 1-for-11 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Yankees are 2-5 in Pineda's past seven road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Sox are 5-0 in Wright's past five vs. the AL East. The under is 4-0 in Wright's past four vs. New York.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
Cardinals at Cubs (-166, TBA)
This is also an MLB Network game. St. Louis has fallen so far behind the Cubs that the Cards probably have to sweep this weekend's four-game series to have any shot at the division -- but that's just not happening. Especially after the team lost Michael Wacha to the DL on Tuesday likely for a while. Carlos Martinez is on the mound for St. Louis. Martinez (10-7, 3.29) comes off his worst start of the season, allowing seven runs and seven hits over five innings against the Braves. Martinez is 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts this season vs. the Cubbies. Dexter Fowler is 6-for-17 with three RBIs against him. Addison Russell is 4-for-11. Anthony Rizzo has two homers in 17 at-bats off Martinez. Cubs lefty Jon Lester (12-4, 2.93) beat one of his former teams, the A's, last time out, allowing two runs over seven innings. He hasn't lost since July 3. Lester hasn't seen the Cards this year. Matt Carpenter is 4-for-14 with two extra-base hits off him. Matt Holliday is 5-for-9 with three RBIs.
Key trends: The Cubs are 5-0 in Lester's past five at home. The under is 3-0-1 in Lester's past four vs. the Cardinals. The Cards are 5-1 in Martinez's past six vs. Chicago.
Early lean: Cubs.
White Sox at Royals (-164, 8)
Chicago has lost outfielder/DH Avisail Garcia to the DL with a sprained right knee. Arguably the best pitcher in the AL right now is Royals lefty Danny Duffy (8-1, 2.97). The Royals won his eighth straight start Saturday against Toronto as Duffy allowed two runs over 6.2 innings and beat All-Star and AL ERA leader Aaron Sanchez. Duffy has faced the White Sox three times this year and is 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA. Jose Abreu is 9-for-24 off him with a homer. Melky Cabrera its .182 off him in 22 at-bats. Adam Eaton is just 4-for-24 off Duffy with nine strikeouts. Chicago's Miguel Gonzalez (2-6, 4.09) is looking for his first win since July 6 but has largely pitched pretty well since then. He lost to Baltimore in his most recent outing, allowing three earned in six innings. Gonzalez is 0-1 with a 3.65 ERA this year vs. Kansas City. I think Jarrod Dyson will get a start for the Royals as he's 8-for-10 off Gonzalez. Salvador Perez is 6-for-17 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Royals are 5-0 in Duffy's past five vs. teams with a losing record. They are 5-1 in his past six vs. Chicago. The under is 5-2 in Duffy's past six against the Pale Hose.
Early lean: Royals and under.
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